Place Settings

Place Settings #45: February 1, 2015


Eat | Definitely a what’s-left-in-my-refrigerator kind of breakfast. Egg-in-a-hole, avocado, and bacon.


Drink | It looks like a beer, but it’s not. It’s a can of Guayaki yerba mate in a pretty glass. Yerba mate is a plant in the holly family that can be brewed like tea to make a tasty beverage. I wasn’t really familiar with it until I spent a month in Berlin and was converted into a Club Mate addict. Club Mate is head and shoulders and torso above any other yerba mate drink I’ve ever encountered and it’s very difficult to find in the US, a fact that makes me cry every so often. (more…)


Place Settings #44: January 25, 2015

IMG_4289Eat | These are bacon pancakes with a blob of avocado mash. They were delicious and super easy to make: I just chopped up some bacon, cooked it, and added it to the pancake mix.

Drink | More Baruir’s coffee.

Read | Still going strong with Moby Dick. As I read, this book keeps getting higher on my list of favorite books. Whales are constantly on my mind — I went on an extended YouTube deep dive of whale documentaries — and the infamous whale chapters are actually the best ones. (more…)

Place Settings #42: June 22, 2014

Place Settings 42

Eat: Camembert and baguette.

Drink: Hold on to your hats, everyone, I have finally assembled a pour-over coffee station for myself. After a friend sent me some Blue Bottle beans from New York and I stumbled upon a ceramic Melitta cone in Berlin, I picked up the Hario hand grinder (daily arm workout included) and a small travel scale to complete the set. The Nespresso machine is sitting glumly in the back of a cabinet now. This morning I’m drinking Small World House Blend.

Read: During my travels to various English-speaking countries, I was able to pick up two copies of The New Yorker, a magazine that isn’t really available over here. I’ve been working my way through these two issues slowly, trying to drag out the experience for as long as possible. (more…)

Place Settings #41: May 18, 2014


Eat: A big plate of sliced meats, cheeses, butter, and fruit from Café Anna Blume in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg. As much as I am a fan of an espresso and a pain au chocolat in the morning, I think German breakfasts are my favorite. They are basically the equivalent of grazing on a bunch of different things from a well-stocked refrigerator, which is my preferred way of eating.

Drink: A warm cup of coffee under an umbrella on a chilly, rainy, German morning. (more…)

Place Settings #40: May 11, 2014

Place Settings #40

Eat: A kiwi, some sliced mango, and spicy mashed avocado on Krisprolls. A very satisfying breakfast after doing one of Tone It Up‘s HIIT workouts. My friend Dani (check out her great health and fitness blog Eat, Sweat, Smile) has been a big fan of Tone It Up for years and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon since a knee injury has been keeping me from running.

Drink: Red Rose tea, almond milk, honey. I actually don’t even have any coffee in the apartment right now, can you believe it? I have, however, been frequenting KB Cafeshop the past few weeks for my fix of filter coffee, reclaimed wood tables, and bespectacled, Macbook-toting café-mates.

Read: I started French classes on Monday, so I’ve been devoting a lot of my reading time to studying. It might seem strange that I’m only just starting French classes after four months of living here, but it’s because I spent the first several months learning a lot just by listing and running errands (I started from basically zero French). To study, I’ve been reviewing our textbook and making flashcards on these handy Muji Key Ring Memo Blocks.

I’ve also been reading about Berlin because I’m going for three days next weekend. Do any of you have Berlin recommendations? So far my schedule includes a bunch of museums and as many coffee shops as possible (The Barn — I’m coming for you).

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

PS Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Place Settings #39: May 4, 2014

Pace Settings #39

Eat: Strawberries and blood orange chia seed pudding. I was never sure what to do with chia until I had an orange juice chia seed pudding at Kaffee 1668 in Tribeca last year. After some googling, I discovered that you just mix up some chia seeds with a liquid of your choice (fruit juices and milk were the most popular) and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and it turns into a pudding-like texture. I’m actually not a huge pudding fan, but using juice gives it a lighter, fresher texture than milk does. I used blood orange juice, which is why it’s so dark.

Drink: A little bit of coffee and some goji berry juice from The Berry Company that I picked up on a whim during a Carrefour run. Despite the juice’s bright orange color, there’s allegedly no artificial coloring (or preservatives or artificial sweeteners) in it. It was delicious and I drank the whole glass in about two gulps.

Read: Still on Love in the Time of Cholera, and still enjoying it (my progress got delayed by The Borgias, which took up a lot of my relaxation time this week; all three seasons are on Netflix and I stormed through them). So far, it actually most reminds me of Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, not so much in the specific subject matter, but in how García Márquez and Perec draw their characters. In both books, each character is given not only a personality, but a full and extremely detailed back story. For a while, you think that these backgrounds extremely long tangents, but after a while you realize that these tangents are in fact the meat of the book (ahem, not unlike life, thank you Monsieur Perec). The first quarter of Love in the Time of Cholera moves in a very similar manner, each new story arc being supplanted by another as soon as you think you have settled into it. (more…)

Place Settings #38: April 27, 2014

Place Settings #38

Eat: Red berry granola with almond milk. It took me forever to find fake milk here, but I happened to spot it in the “organic” aisle yesterday.

Drink: Red Rose black tea with honey and almond milk.

Read: I’ve never read anything by Gabriel García Márquez, and his recent passing prompted me to pick up Love in the Time of Cholera, which has been sitting on my Kindle for years. I’m only 5% of the way through, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m also really impressed with my friend Alice’s emoji-reading skills:


I’m having a kind of low-key, life administration Sunday, getting back into the flow of regular life after a week of relaxation, eating, and châteaux-trotting in the Loire Valley.

How was your weekend?

Place Settings #37: April 13, 2014


Eat: Pain au chocolat in the park. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but I live about half a block from a beautiful older park with a pond and lots of ducks and geese, and about two blocks from a brand new park, which is where I ate this morning. I decided it eat outside today to get out of my cave apartment.

Drink: Lemonade (don’t worry — I had a coffee earlier at home). (more…)

Place Settings #36: April 6, 2014

Place Settings #36

Eat: Asparagus season is in full swing and you can’t go anywhere in Paris without seeing bundles of thick green and white stalks for sale. I picked up a fistful of spears in La Grande Epicerie, a magical food store that I’ve mentioned before. I steamed these for a few minutes, coated them in butter, and topped with a poached egg and a bit of salt.

Drink: English breakfast tea with honey.

Read: After I finished Bird by Bird, I looked at my stack of books and hesitated before selecting Girl with Curious Hair. Part of me wanted to take a longer break from David Foster Wallace (I finished Infinite Jest at the end of February), not because I’ve grown tired of him, but because I didn’t want to binge on him.  (more…)